NKF Serving Maryland and Delaware - 12 Days of Giving

Charlotte Rice - Transplant Recipient

Charlotte Rice

It's been four years and eight months since Charlotte's life-saving kidney transplant. Charlotte received the gift of life from a living donor, her dad, on April 9, 2019. Since her transplant, Charlotte's life has changed quite a bit. The days of nightly peritoneal dialysis and constant fear of infection are long gone! However they have been replaced with the unspoken fear of organ rejection. This fear is always present in the backs of our minds. For a full year after Charlotte's transplant, our lives were so much less stressful. At first we had to make many trips to the hospital for blood work and checkups with her nephrology team, but after a few months we were allowed to have her blood work done at a local labcorp each month. Frequent blood work is necessary to ensure all of her medication levels and kidney function are holding steady.

The honeymoon period was short-lived. In April 2021 Charlotte had her first scare with antibody rejection. Luckily her amazing Nephrology team at Children's National Medical Center caught the signs early and intervened. After a kidney biopsy and a few rounds of infusions to reset her B cells, her body reset, and the antibodies stopped attacking her transplanted kidney!

In August 2021, Charlotte officially started school. We chose to home school Charlotte due to her medical needs and fragile immune system. She needs to be given water, food and medications through her G tube 13 times each day, which would be a big challenge if she were to attend a formal school. Charlotte thrives in home school and loves Science, as well as all hands-on activities. She is also a sponge and quickly learned how to read! It was Charlotte's second year of taking weekly horseback riding lessons, where she loved her horses, as well as her riding buddies.

In 2022, Charlotte started 1st grade and excelled in Reading, Math, Science and Social studies. She most enjoyed learning about all of the states. She was especially interested in the state birds, flowers, and their flags. Charlotte started Occupational therapy this year, as well as continued weekly feeding therapy sessions. Eventually we hope that Charlotte will be able to eat by mouth instead of being dependent on her G tube. However, this is a long process, and she needs to constantly practice to grow the muscles needed to chew and swallow. Charlotte is gaining skills weekly with her riding lessons and loves spending time at the horse barn.

In April of 2022, Charlotte was able to go on her Make a Wish trip to Sanibel Island Florida. During this week-long trip, we enjoyed collecting shells on the beach, swimming in the pool, and we even got to go on a private boat adventure to see dolphins, manatees, and tortoises in the wild! It was a trip none of us will ever forget!

In 2023, Charlotte started 2nd grade. This year has been a big challenge for her emotionally. Unfortunately, trauma from the past seven years of living a complex medical life has started to come to the surface. Since Charlotte was born, she has had to take many medications, have regular blood-work, be connected to dialysis, be cautious of germs, and be admitted to hospitals whenever she was told she needed to. She has been told what to do A LOT and is starting to realize the lack of autonomy she has in her own life. As she is maturing and getting older, she is starting to exert her independence and her opinions. Charlotte has also started to exhibit anxiety regarding separation from me (her mother), as well as with any situation that is out of her normal routine - especially anything medically related. I have no doubt this is fairly common for children with lives that are medically complex. Charlotte is now on her 4th year of horseback riding and is doing great. During her weekly lessons she is gaining confidence, responsibility, and strength. She amazes us every week!

Most recently in October 2023, Charlotte's Nephrologists have again noticed that her creatinine levels have started to climb, as they did in 2020. Her creatinine level is an indicator for how well her kidney is filtering waste from her blood. An increased level can indicate that kidney function has slowed. We are scheduled for the 18th of December to have her second kidney biopsy, which will allow her Nephrology team to investigate if there is any type of rejection occurring in her transplanted kidney.

Being a kid who is living with a terminal disease is not an easy feat. We are amazed and proud of all that Charlotte has accomplished and persevered through in her short 7 years of life. We look forward to continuing to watch Charlotte blossom into a unique and independent young lady in the coming years!

Clark Patterson - Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Recipient

Clark Patterson walking in a Kidney Walk

Clark received his transplant 12/5/2016 (seven years ago!) at Thomas Jefferson University hospital in Philadelphia. With a double transplant (kidney and pancreas) he has seen a huge change in lifestyle. He no longer needs dialysis (which he was on for four years) or insulin (which he used for 45 years). Of course, there are medications to manage the transplant, but no more needles or shots! He and his wife have taken some great vacations and even a cruise. Clark is now able to volunteer once a week in the kitchen at Delmarva Christian Schools Milton Campus where his wife works and grandchildren attend school. He volunteers in Sunday school and other activities at East Gate Presbyterian Church. None of this would have been possible without God, the employees of Rehoboth Fresenius Kidney Care, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the Gift of Life Howie's House, and the wonderful work of the National Kidney Foundation.

Vaunita Goodman - Founder, Dialysis to the Docks and NKFMDDE Kidney Ambassador

Vaunita Goodman driving a boat

I am a kidney transplant recipient who was diagnosed in 2016 after an emergency room visit. I was experiencing deep pain in my back area and had flu-like symptoms, soon after I was placed on hemo and peritoneal dialysis. I am so grateful to have received a kidney transplant from an anonymous, non-directed living donor.

Living with CKD impacted my mental well-being. I vacillated between near hopelessness and pure happiness for just being alive and well on that day. My social engagement with large groups slowed down and I made more time to listen to my body, learn from the natural world, and meditate.

My way of life is much more elevated. I mindfully offer my attention to my physical and emotional body. I spend time working on a farm where I can stay in touch with the land and seasonality. I celebrate my accomplishments by sharing my story with others, on occasion, and I make a practice of doing something differently every day. Lastly, my relationship with sailing gives me life power! It allows me access to so many moments of bliss, balance, and elation. I know myself differently because of my journey; from CKD, to dialysis, to transplant, to a more mindful approach to living. And the journey continues!

I have benefited from NKF Serving Maryland and Delaware’s programs. My initial involvement was as a volunteer at the Santé - Giving Back for Kidney Disease event in 2021; meeting an array of people from the CKD community was very enlightening. I followed up with NKF Serving Maryland and Delaware immediately after the event to inquire about becoming more involved in the mission. Since then, I’ve participated in three Kidney walk events, two medical lectures, and another Sante’ event, and shared my story with the local board of directors. And now I have this opportunity to share my story with you. Thank you.

Lucy Thoupos - five years old

Lucy Thoupos

What is your connection to kidney disease?

Written by Chelsea Thoupos, Lucy’s Mother

Our daughter Lucy was born with kidney disease. She was on dialysis until she was 18 months old and received a successful kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins Children's Center with transplant surgeon, Dr. Niraj Desai. At the time of her transplant, Lucy had been in the hospital for months after a bad fungal infection caused her to lose her peritoneal dialysis catheter. She was too small to do hemodialysis as an outpatient because she required it every day. At this point, she also was not growing at all and not near the size and weight requirement for transplant. Growth hormones weren’t working, and we were stuck without any options. After a lot of consideration, Dr. Desai wound up deciding he could remove one of her cystic kidneys to make room for the transplanted kidney. She because the youngest and smallest kidney transplant patient at Johns Hopkins.

When were you diagnosed and what led to your diagnosis?

I had an OB appointment at 37 weeks (a week before my scheduled c-section) and I asked if we could do a quick ultrasound. I didn’t have one scheduled, but they said OK. The ultrasound showed low amniotic fluid and enlarged kidneys. We decided to go ahead with the c-section that day. Once she was born, at GBMC, a doctor was called in from another hospital to consult. He told us she had cystic kidneys and we needed to transfer her to Johns Hopkins Children's Center where the Nephrology team could evaluate her and provide dialysis. We felt so lucky to be living in Baltimore and to have JHCC at our disposal. Dr. Tammy Brady and the whole Nephrology team are outstanding. After about a year, and thorough genetic testing, we found out she has a rare gene NPHP3 or Nephronophthisis. This affects the kidneys and liver. Lucy eventually had a liver transplant as well, at three years old.

Was she on dialysis?

Lucy was on dialysis from about two weeks old until her transplant at 18 months.

Who was her transplant donor?

Lucy received a transplant from a deceased donor.

How has living with kidney disease impacted Lucy and your family?

It’s easy to say this changed our whole family’s life. From the second she was born we were thrown into this crazy world we knew nothing about. I wound up learning so much. The Nephrology team and all the nurses made us feel like we were part of a family, and they still do. We all went through this battle together. At the time Lucy was born, our twin boys were three, (almost four). They didn’t understand anything. My time was divided between the hospital and home. This continued over the following 18 months with half that time spent in the hospital. I would bring the boys a lot, to visit Lucy at 9 North and the nurses were so amazing with them. Child Life taught them about dialysis, the tubes Lucy had, and what they did. Everyone was there for us, not just Lucy, but our whole family. When Lucy was home, they were able to see how dialysis worked. They would help me carry the big bags of fluid to the dialysis machine. Today we are in a much better place. With a working kidney (and liver) we just must worry about medication twice a day, bloodwork, and doctor’s appointments. Sometimes that can be inconvenient, but we make it work.

How has Lucy’s lifestyle been adapted (diet, fitness, etc.)?

Post-transplant, Lucy blew through milestones: Standing, crawling, walking, etc. She is still G-tube fed but we hope to eliminate that at some point. She takes medication twice a day and has routine bloodwork. Other than that, she is a normal preschooler!

Thomas LaVon “Prince” Thomas Jr., aka DJ Young Fresh Prince

Thomas LaVon “Prince” Thomas Jr., aka DJ Young Fresh Prince

Zorina Thomas (Prince’s Mom) recalls the early years of Prince’s life and his experience with his condition, Prune Belly Syndrome.

“So, a little bit about Prune Belly Syndrome, the condition that Prince was born with, it only affects about 1 in 40,000 males so it’s not a very common condition. We first learned about this condition when I was about six months pregnant. It was a routine ultrasound; the tech left the room, and the doctor came into the room and expressed their concern about a few things that required them to take a few more pictures. That is when I knew that something was not right, something was going on with my baby. The doctor said that Prince had no amniotic fluid and an amnionitis would be necessary, so they did that, and all chromosomes were normal, so we were left with the question of, what is wrong? There was one doctor in the entire hospital in Chicago who said “Looks like this is Prune Belly Syndrome” Following an MRI, they concluded that that’s what it was. Throughout the rest of the pregnancy, we were very careful, having many doctors’ appointments and we had to be closely monitored because there wasn’t a lot of amniotic fluid surrounding him and that was because his kidneys were not functioning correctly. In December I was hospitalized for the whole month and Prince was born pre-mature on January 6th via c-section. When he was born, he was immediately rushed to the NICU and intubated, I couldn’t see him until the next day, thankfully my husband was there the entire time. While in the NICU we were constantly thinking “What is his creatinine level”. His creatinine did not go up and they concluded that he was going to need dialysis. We decided on peritoneal dialysis which would allow us some freedom at home. During this time, I was in school to become a physician’s assistant, so it was easier for me to learn how to do dialysis, I went through the training and taught my husband, so we were all hands on deck. He had the peritoneal catheter placed and at two months he began at-home dialysis. He was a good baby, but there were concerns that he was not growing like he should be. He had several surgeries to deal with some of the complications of the peritoneal catheter. These were some of the earlier challenges.

"We then realized that Prince would need a kidney transplant. All our family agreed to get tested to see if they were a kidney match, I was the first to get tested. I got tested and I was the perfect match. So, on December 11th at eleven months old I donated my kidney to my son, Prince. All our family and friends were at the hospital to show support. There were a lot of expectations, and we were all very nervous about if the transplant would be successful or not. The day after the transplant we were happy to see that Prince began urinating and showing signs that the transplant was a success. Due to the kidney transplant Prince no longer required dialysis treatments.

"With Prune Belly Syndrome, other medical complications can occur. For Prince, he was born with bilateral hip dysplasia. At 15 months old Prince had surgery to reduce his left hip. After the surgery, Prince was required to wear a hip cast. This was a very difficult time for him. After the cast, we went through intense physical therapy. Another issue of Prune Belly Syndrome is the underdevelopment of abdominal muscles. At around four years old he graduated from physical therapy and began school. Some of the challenges as Prince got older were the routine blood draws and medication maintenance to ensure his kidneys were functioning well. We also had constant follow-ups with nephrologists. Another aspect of Prune Belly Syndrome is bladder issues, which was called hypertrophic bladder, so he also had to see a urologist. These days were hard for Prince, so we were looking for a way to ease his anxiety when we realized that he loved music. He found a love for music, and it became his outlet.

"As Prince is getting older and more mature, he feels that it is time for him to share his story to hopefully help other children or families who may be in the same situation as him. We learned a lot and are learning a lot through our journey with Prince and his condition. We expressed to him the importance of taking care of his kidneys and the fact that he may need another kidney transplant one day. We also learned the importance of asking difficult questions to the doctors and advocating for our son’s health. It takes a village; this journey takes a village, and that village is what has helped us get through.”

Prince talks about his current medical status and his journey:

"I didn’t know much about my condition or ask any questions until I was about six years old, and I noticed a scar on my stomach. That was when my parents sat me down and explained my condition, Prune Belly Syndrome, to me and told me about my kidney transplant. At that time, I don’t think I comprehended what was going on. As I got older, I began to understand my condition more, understanding why I wear pull-ups and how important taking my medication is. Now that I understand my condition and that I am becoming more responsible for my condition, my medication, and such, I felt that it was a good time to share my story. To show people who may be going through something similar that hey- I’m just like you, I understand what you are going through, and I want to inspire kids. My goal in life is to continue learning more about my condition and spreading awareness about Prune Belly Syndrome. I also want to inspire people through music. When I graduate high school, I would like to move out to LA to a music school and one day become a producer.

"I understand that I will need another kidney transplant down the road, I’m pushing forward with my dreams and don’t want to let that slow me down!"

Check out this segment in the Frederick News Post, October 2023.

Robert Moore - Looking for a kidney donor

Rob Moore and little man at Kidney Walk

In 1996, I began dating my high school sweetheart (Ketanya Moore) who would, in 2001, become my wife. We have 5 amazing children ranging from ages 4- 22 years of age. We are a tight knit family that celebrates all birthdays, holidays, special occasions and any “just because” days together. There has never been a vacation that we have gone on where we have not had our children with us. We take every opportunity that we can to create memories as a family.

I like to brag about myself and pat myself on the back for being the best dad ever (in my mind). Everything that I do is for my wife and my kids. They are my world. I often tell them that life would be nothing without them. My family looks at me as their superhero, and I try my best to live up to that. In August 2018 when I got the life altering news that I had end stage renal failure, it was a shock. I felt like my cape was Instantly ripped away.

I was told that my kidneys were functioning under 30%. Of course, I was in denial and opted to have a second and third opinion only to find out that this was not a dream but in fact, my new reality. In my mind, the only thing that I could think was how? Why me? I’ve never drank, smoked, used recreational drugs and even over the counter medications were very limited. How is this happening to me? I can’t die, I’m only 38. I must be here for my wife and kids. I can’t leave them, they need me. These were just some of the many talks that I had with myself. There were so many thoughts and unanswered questions going on in my mind.

During this time, I was still playing sports. I was exercising regularly, I thought that I was a pretty healthy guy. I had no clue that there was anything wrong with me. After getting the confirmation that my kidneys were indeed failing, my Immediate thought went to how this would affect my family and what role would it play in my future with them.

During this time, we told no one, with the exception of about 2 people. We as a family changed our eating habits and tried to collectively live a healthier lifestyle. My goal was to try and preserve what kidney function that I had left or at least slow down the progression of the disease.

Fast forward to August of 2021. My family went to ChristianaCare Hospital so that my wife could get her testing done to be a possible donor for me. During our stay, we all contracted covid -19 and had to go home to quarantine. A few days later, everyone’s symptoms began to dissolve but mine worsened. A couple of days later I was hospitalized for 9 days. After being admitted, I was told that my kidney function had dropped to under 10% due to me catching covid. I was rushed to the operation room to receive emergency dialysis to save my life. Thank God for dialysis.

Fast forward to today. I am currently on dialysis and active on the kidney transplant list at Jefferson Hospital while I continue this fight for my life.  Although there have been a few people that have gotten tested, it unfortunately did not work out.

As I try to process and accept everything that has and is happening, I still try to smile and be the best dad and husband ever. I cannot say that it has been an easy journey, but I am staying hopeful that my time will come when I get that call saying, “Mr. Moore, we have a kidney for you.” That is going to feel freaking awesome! Until then, I will continue to be hopeful and enjoy every day to the best of my ability.

George Franklin III - Kidney Recipient & Kidney Advocate

George Franklin III, from Cumberland Maryland, is a kidney transplant recipient. George received his transplant on November 4, 1975, at the George Washington University Medical Center. George has the distinction of being the nation’s longest-surviving African American with a transplant. He is THE longest-surviving recipient in the state of Maryland! George is actively involved in the Transplant Games where he most recently won the 2022 Donate Life Transplant Games Athlete of the Year Award for nearly 50 years of advocacy work.

He has attended eleven National Games, and two International, including the First Internationals, in Southsea England, in 1978, and has won over eighteen medals. He was the former chair and one of twelve Athlete Advisory Council Members for Transplant Games of America (TGA). George co-founded the Quarter Century Club in 2003 and continues to be the president. This is a club for long-term transplant recipients of 25 years or more. He is a positive, high-energy, inspiring volunteer for NKFMDDE in Western Maryland and is a national NKF advocate. We are thrilled to have him as part of our team.

George Franklin III celebrating being a member of the Quarter Century Club

Rich Tomaski - Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Recipient & Kidney Advocate

My name is Rich Tomaski, I am 60 years old, and I will turn 61 on January 9, 2024. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic for 55 years since the age of five. I am currently retired and on SSDI. I was in various levels of construction and real estate development my entire professional career. I was born and raised in the Chester County PA area my entire life. As we got older, we were fortunate enough to obtain a house in Ocean City MD. We always did our week of vacation in Ocean City when my two daughters were younger, and we continued to do so until I retired. When I retired, because of my kidney issues, we moved to our house in Ocean City.

I worked to get on the kidney transplant list. I worked with someone who had a friend who was part of the Johns Hopkins Transplant program in Baltimore. Fortunately, she was in a position where she helped people get listed. She walked me through the process to get all the testing and interview process to get me on the list at John Hopkins. Once on the list, I continued to see the folks at the transplant program while still seeing my nephrologist at the same time.

The major goal with my nephrologist and the Johns Hopkins pre-transplant team was to keep me off dialysis as long as possible before the transplant. My wife, Lisa, was evaluated to see if she was a living donor match but unfortunately, she was not. My brother-in-law also stepped forward but was not a match. My mom wanted to be evaluated but she is in her late seventies, and I did not want to put her at risk for her health so we agreed she would not go through the process. I do not have a relationship with my father and was hesitant to ask any of my other younger relatives to see if they might be a match. In my opinion, this was a BIG ASK they have lives, families, and responsibilities as well. I have a sister and she said she would consider it if I was out of options. I have two daughters, but they were both very afraid of the process so did not want to pressure them into anything either.

I was on the list for about two years and my kidney function slowly declined to where dialysis was in my near future. In working with my nephrologist, I was on a strict diet of low potassium and low protein foods which I strictly followed. As I continued to manage my disease, the Johns Hopkins transplant team continued to keep me informed as I moved up the list. As time continued, the discussion of having a dual transplant of kidney and pancreas would move me up the list quicker and they were hesitant to do kidney only as my Type 1 Diabetes would work against my new transplant should one become available. I agreed to pursue the dual transplant process.

During the spring and summer of last year, my condition started to decline faster with both of my kidneys at a total of 13% GFR and my creatine was up to 4.5. My nephrologists told me at these numbers I could go on dialysis any day depending on how I felt. I started to feel nauseous daily and started vomiting daily in early August of last year. We decided I was to start dialysis the week of August 15, 2023. On the eve of Sunday, August 14th I received a call from the Johns Hopkins Transplant group that a deceased donor had been matched up with me with a good kidney and pancreas. I went in that evening and the surgery was done on August 15, 2023.

While someone lost their life, I am grateful that this individual was an organ donor. This gesture saved my life and I know what a gift it is! I stayed as active as possible and watched my kidney-friendly diet closely for the years leading up to my surgery which the Johns Hopkins team has told me has improved my chances of a successful transplant. Since the surgery, I have followed directions from the post-surgery team closely and see them regularly. I have weekly bloodwork and medication management checks as scheduled by the transplant team. The team continues to tell me that I am doing much better than expected now that I am four months post-transplant surgery. I continue to be ever grateful for this second chance in life!

Rich and Lisa Tomaski on a motorcycle

Tisha Guthrie - Kidney Patient & NKFMDDE Board Member

Tisha is a social worker and health and wellness professional. She has been engaged with the Maryland Kidney Walk as a team captain for nearly ten years. Tisha teaches Zumba and works with her group, the No Drama Crew, offering the warm-up annually at the Kidney Walk.

In 2005, at the age of 30, I was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, and I was devastated! No stranger to the trial’s life has in store, I did my best to wade through the physical and emotional flood. My health continued to decline, and severe intervention was inevitable. As I became acquainted with the wonderful individuals, both patients, and staff, at my dialysis clinic, I learned just how many people, ethnicities, and age groups are touched by renal disease. My father donated his kidney to save my life, additionally, I received a pancreas transplant. Today I am thriving because my father gave me a second chance in life.

Having been a long-time self-advocate, I also took it upon myself to learn what I could about my condition. That was when I discovered the National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware and its awesome initiatives. What made the organization real to me was seeing the faces of families impacted by dialysis and knowing that so many received assistance from the National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware. Today, I am a proud, local Advisory Board member for this wonderful organization.

Rich and Lisa Tomaski on a motorcycle

Melissa Kuhns - Kidney Cancer Survivor

Melissa VanOver Kuhns

After returning from Belgium in 2016 something was off regarding my body/health. After consultation with my physician and tests, I was diagnosed with Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma (ccRCC).

Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma is a subtype of renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer. Its name comes from the cancer cells, which look like clear soap bubbles under a microscope. ccRCC cancer cells rapidly multiply, forming one or more tumors. This cancer typically only affects one kidney but can affect both.

I underwent surgery for a large fibroid that formed in my uterus. It took five months for the pain to subside and in the spring, I had to go to the ER because of the abdominal pain I was experiencing. I was hospitalized for four days and later the doctors determined I had a kidney-related diagnosis, ccRCC, and I was told to follow up with a urologist.

I wasn’t expecting while at the appointment to be told there was a small questionable mass on my left kidney. The symptoms I was having were not related to the mass and I was lucky to catch it in the early stage. After being given the information and options I chose to go with a less modern approach of a large incision to remove part of my rib to ensure that the doctors could fully remove the mass. A biopsy showed a three-centimeter ccRCC mass that was in stage two. I had to go through numerous checkups to ensure that the condition did not return. I am still undergoing checkups and while I haven’t received a clean bill of health, I am optimistic that I am on the road to full recovery.

It is important to listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel or seem right, make an appointment with your doctor, it could save your life!

Rosanne Bell - Kidney Transplant Recipient

My name is Roseanne Bell, I work for Konica Minolta where I am in sales, selling IT to the Federal Government. In my early 30s, I was diagnosed with kidney failure from normal lab work during an annual visit when they noticed that protein levels were high and more testing was conducted. My doctor and I discussed what may have caused this diagnosis and what didn’t cause it. What was determined was that it was not from high blood pressure or diabetes. It was determined that I had Tonsillitis as a child which sometimes damages your kidneys. The diagnosis was streptococcal nephritis.

I attended NKF’s Big Ask Big Give program and learned a lot of ways that I could share my journey. After that, I was lucky that one of my good friends, Stefanie Milam, agreed to be my living donor.

We were counting down the days to surgery! We are proud to be Kidney Ambassadors for living donor transplants and will continue to document this journey along the way.

Tragedy hit close to home and made my health journey even more challenging. My husband passed away on Sunday, May 22, 2022, at the age of 59 after a long medical struggle. So, widowed, and life as I knew it changed, and a new life begins with a kidney transplant less than 10 days apart.

My donor, Stefanie Milam, is a world-renowned scientist at NASA and deputy director of the Webb Space Telescope program. I am blessed for this gift of life.

On July 2, 2022, my donor had surgery and stayed a night, I walked a pretty long way to visit her on day 1, and on day 2, she came and saw me in the morning and then was released at noon. The next week, Johns Hopkins released her with no restrictions except lifting.

There were difficulties controlling my pain, so I stayed another seven days, I left the hospital feeling great, but within a few days I had an infection at my incision site, it was very painful, and it wasn’t resolved for over a week, but they did take the staples out a week early.

This affected my stamina, but I improved. My surgery was successfully done by Niraj Desai at Johns Hopkins. I feel terrific and have from the moment I woke up with a big smile on my face.

Rich and Lisa Tomaski on a motorcycle

Matt Hall - Kidney Transplant Recipient

Kidney donor Jacqui and recipient Matt Hall standing with Sydney the Kidney

Matt Hall was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerular Sclerosis (FSGS) when he was just 16 years old. This disease causes scarring of the filtering mechanisms of both kidneys and eventually causes the kidneys to fail. For many years Matt’s illness was well controlled with medication, a healthy diet and exercise, but at the beginning of 2021 Matt was told he was in need of a transplant.

He and his wife Christine hit the ground running! The search for a living donor for Matt was on. They pulled out all the stops and reached far and wide for a donor. They immediately reached out to their network of friends and family, started a Facebook page, created a video to tell their story, participated in living donor workshops and so much more. While searching for a kidney for Matt, the Hall’s turned their attention to awareness and helping others. Christine began spreading the word about living donation and helping others in their search.

Then, on August 22nd the very best news came. 190 days. 6 months and 8 days. 4,560 hours they waited, and the wait was over. The amazing team at Christiana Care Kidney Transplant Center called and said the words they were longing to hear: WE FOUND MATT A KIDNEY! Matt’s kidney match would be from a perfect stranger, but she wouldn’t remain a stranger for long.  Matt met Jacqui and their surgery was scheduled September 1, 2021. Matt and Jacqui are both doing great and now have a bond to last a lifetime.

Participating in the Kidney Walk allows you to tell your story, network with others in the kidney community and so much more. Each step you take as part of our movement will inspire hope and health for kidney patients and their families.